“The Man with the Immoral Face”

Tomorrow evening, TCM offers five films starring Robert Mitchum: Cape Fear, River of No Return, Night of the Hunter, Rampage, and Going Home. The films represent about a twenty-year span, from 1954 to 1971, and range from an undeniable classic (Night of the Hunter) to a complete misfire (Going Home). Whatever the film, or its reputation, Mitchum will be the most watchable actor in the cast. Famous for underplaying most of his roles, especially when delivering dialogue, the actor exuded a laid-back self-confidence. His sleepy-eyed good lucks and barrel-chested physique gave him a commanding presence that was impossible to ignore, and he used his physicality to attract, seduce, intimidate, and frighten, depending on the role.  Well into his 50s, Mitchum had no qualms about going shirtless onscreen and off, driving both his female fans and his costars to distraction. If Marilyn Monroe was an icon of female sexuality for male viewers during the 1950s, then Robert Mitchum was the male equivalent for women viewers. I wonder why no one writes about that. . . except for me, I guess.

Mitchum also lived large offscreen, and his adventures, brawls, romances, and exploits added to his uber-masculine star image—not because he drank, caroused, or thumbed his nose at authority but because he understood and accepted the consequences of being a nonconformist. But Mitchum was more than the bohemian bad boy that women just couldn’t resist, he was also artistic, well read, professional on the set (most of the time), and mature. It’s these contradictions that make him a Hollywood original and an endlessly fascinating figure. My friends know that Robert Mitchum is my absolute favorite actor of all time. . . ever. No contest. No close second. Recently, I have been researching Mitchum for a project, and in honor of TCM’s mini-Mitchum festival tomorrow evening, I am offering ten stories or bits of information about the actor that I only recently uncovered.

1. Despite his calm exterior and tough-guy star image, Mitchum experienced a nervous breakdown during his early years in California supposedly from job-related stress. The breakdown caused temporary blindness and led him to quit his job at Lockheed Aircraft Corp. and pursue work as an actor or extra.

2. The first film I ever saw with Robert Mitchum was Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), a war drama directed by John Huston. Mitchum stars as a Marine stranded on an island in the South Pacific with a nun, played by Deborah Kerr. Shirtless throughout much of the film, Mitchum was mesmerizing, though, at only ten years old, I didn’t quite understand why I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Huston and Mitchum, both hard-living drinkers, hit it off and became life-long friends, but the role was the most physically demanding of his career. During shooting on Tobago Island, he cut open his chest twice, once while sliding bare-chested down a palm tree and another time while crawling over stinging nettles. While tied to a giant sea turtle, he was dashed against a coral reef and, in another incident, almost drowned. His feet were constantly cut and bleeding, and he sprained an ankle. He was also involved in a barroom brawl with five sailors in a Tobago night club. He knocked one sailor across the floor, through a glass door, and down a flight of stairs and held his own against the other four until his wife, Dorothy, made him stop.

'HEAVEN KNOWS, MR. ALLISON.' SHIRTLESS.

3. In 1945, Photoplay magazine ran a feature article about Robert Mitchum, who had just earned an Oscar nomination for his breakout role in The Story of G.I. Joe (1945). Titled “The Man with the Immoral Face,” the article commented on Mitchum’s popularity with teenage girls. The article was based on comments made by teenagers who were interviewed while lined up to see one of his films. One of them swooned that Mitchum had such an “immoral face,” while another noted the actor had “sex appeal in an evil way.”

'RIVER OF NO RETURN.' AND, SHIRTLESS AGAIN.

4. Mitchum crossed paths with Marilyn Monroe several times during his life and career. While employed at Lockheed in the early 1940s, he worked alongside Jim Dougherty, Monroe’s first husband who liked to show snapshots of his pretty young wife, Norma Jeane, to his work buddies. In 1953, Monroe asked 20th Century Fox to sign Mitchum as her costar on The River of No Return (released in 1954). The costars got along well, with Mitchum often acting as a buffer between Monroe and director Otto Preminger, who resented Marilyn’s acting coach, Natasha Lytess. In 1960, John Huston asked Mitchum to play the aging cowboy in Monroe’s last complete film, The Misfits, but after his experience on Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, the actor did not want to get involved in another physically grueling shoot. He instructed his secretary, “Tell him I died.” Though meant as a joke, it proved to be prophetic because the role went to Clark Gable, who died of a heart attack within days of finishing The Misfits. Two years later, Monroe died of a drug overdose, prompting Mitchum to wonder if both might have lived longer if he had accepted the role. He reasoned that he might have spared Gable the physically punishing shoot that contributed to the heart attack, and he could have re-friended Monroe when she needed it the most.

5. At one time, Mitchum talked seriously about directing a film version of Huston’s unproduced play, Frankie and Johnny, a reworking of the famous folk tale. While Huston had written the play for marionettes, Mitchum wanted to adapt it for human actors, relocate the story to 1920s Chicago, and use period blues and jazz as background music. He talked about getting Chicago writer Nelson Algren to write the screenplay, but nothing ever came of the project.

MITCHUM WAS SO INTO THE CHARACTER OF MAX CADY IN 'CAPE FEAR' THAT HE HELD COSTAR GREGORY PECK UNDERWATER TOO LONG IN THIS SCENE.

6. Telly Savalas and Rod Steiger were seriously considered for the role of Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962), directed by J. Lee Thompson. Thompson, star Gregory Peck, and the producers tested Savalas, who was the front runner for the part until Peck thought about Mitchum for the role.

7. My new favorite story about Mitchum’s sexuality involves Carroll Baker, who costarred with the actor in Mister Moses (1965). The romantic adventure was shot on location in Africa, where Baker quickly became infatuated with Mitchum despite their age difference. In her autobiography, she refers to him as “a gorgeous hunk who paraded his manliness 24 hours a day.” At the lodge where the cast and crew stayed, she was reduced to spying on him from her window as he walked around barefooted and bare-chested in his room, pacing like “a tiger in heat,” an odd simile since only females go in heat. However, being a life-long Mitchum fan, I certainly get her drift. At night, he would lie half-naked in the hammock on his porch, which drove Baker mad with desire. She was so distracted that she took regular cold showers, drank an herbal tea given to her by a Masai witch doctor, and wore “tribal charms” in her underwear to cool her ardor. Not surprisingly, none of those remedies worked.  I don’t think they would have worked for me either.

NOT THE BEST STILL FROM 'TWO FOR THE SEESAW,' BUT NOTICE THE LOOK ON THEIR FACES.

8. Robert Mitchum was the love of Shirley MacLaine’s life. I can tell by the way she writes about their affair in My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir, and I recognize the symptoms of someone in an impossibly passionate relationship that will never work. The two fell in love while costarring in Two for the Seesaw (1962). To be in a relationship with Robert Mitchum was to live in the moment—with no past or no future. MacLaine confessed to be mesmerized by the way he spoke, always philosophizing, speaking in allegories, or spinning myths about his unusual life. According to MacLaine, his use of language was a measure of his intelligence but also a way for him to be evasive, indirect, and noncommittal. She laments, “His words haunt me still.”

9. Many know that Mitchum recorded a calypso album in 1957 titled Robert Mitchum Calypso—Is Like So. He was inspired to record the album after hearing this style of music on the island of Tobago where Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison was shot. In 1967, he recorded a second album, That Man, Robert Mitchum, Sings, in Nashville. The album included a collection of country songs, including “The Ballad of Thunder Road,” which was the title tune for the only film Mitchum wanted and took creative control over. According to Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra once said that Robert Mitchum knew more about the history of music than any man he had ever met.

SOME PUBLICITY PHOTOS ARE JUST WRONG.

10. When Laurence Olivier got wind that Charles Laughton was directing Night of the Hunter (1955), he was eager to play Harry Powell, the role for which Mitchum is best remembered. Laughton and producer Paul Gregory wanted Mitchum, but they did not want to offend Olivier. They ran the idea past United Artists, but U.A. responded that they “would not be interested in putting up any money for The Night of the Hunter with Larry Olivier.” I can’t imagine the classically trained Olivier in the role of Harry Powell, who was a preacher and a psychopath—and a quintessentially American character.

Baker, Carroll. Baby Doll: A Memoir. Arbor House Pub. Co., 1983.

MacLaine, Shirley. My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. New York: Bantan, 1996.

Roberts, Jerry. Robert Mitchum: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Server, Lee. Baby, I Don’t Care. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002.

0 Response “The Man with the Immoral Face”
Posted By Pamela Porter : March 26, 2012 1:50 pm

Yet even more proof that teen-agers “back in the day” were much smarter than their modern counterparts ;)

Posted By Pamela Porter : March 26, 2012 1:50 pm

Yet even more proof that teen-agers “back in the day” were much smarter than their modern counterparts ;)

Posted By Susan Doll : March 26, 2012 1:58 pm

I’m with you on that one, Pamela.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 26, 2012 1:58 pm

I’m with you on that one, Pamela.

Posted By michaelgloversmith : March 26, 2012 2:03 pm

Great anecdotes! It is impossible to imagine Night of the Hunter with Olivier as Powell.
My top 5 favorite MItchum performances:

5. The Friends of Eddie Coyle
4. Angel Face
3. Pursued
2. Night of the Hunter
1. Out of the Past

Now if I could only get my hands on a copy of When Strangers Marry . . .

Posted By michaelgloversmith : March 26, 2012 2:03 pm

Great anecdotes! It is impossible to imagine Night of the Hunter with Olivier as Powell.
My top 5 favorite MItchum performances:

5. The Friends of Eddie Coyle
4. Angel Face
3. Pursued
2. Night of the Hunter
1. Out of the Past

Now if I could only get my hands on a copy of When Strangers Marry . . .

Posted By Kingrat : March 26, 2012 2:15 pm

Thanks for the great article on Mitchum. Edward Dmytryk’s autobiography mentions how intelligent Dmytryk thought Mitchum was, and how Dmytryk thought Mitchum was only using a fraction of his great talent.

Mitchum had sex appeal for his own sex, too. If you can find Robert Peters’ book of poems about an imaginary affair with Mitchum, you would probably enjoy it.

I’m amused that Nicholas Ray begins THE LUSTY MEN with the camera peering up at Mitchum’s crotch. One of Mitchum’s best performances, and one of Ray’s best films. He’s also wonderful opposite Deborah Kerr again in THE SUNDOWNERS. Mitchum, Kerr, and Fred Zinnemann in top form = outstanding film.

Posted By Kingrat : March 26, 2012 2:15 pm

Thanks for the great article on Mitchum. Edward Dmytryk’s autobiography mentions how intelligent Dmytryk thought Mitchum was, and how Dmytryk thought Mitchum was only using a fraction of his great talent.

Mitchum had sex appeal for his own sex, too. If you can find Robert Peters’ book of poems about an imaginary affair with Mitchum, you would probably enjoy it.

I’m amused that Nicholas Ray begins THE LUSTY MEN with the camera peering up at Mitchum’s crotch. One of Mitchum’s best performances, and one of Ray’s best films. He’s also wonderful opposite Deborah Kerr again in THE SUNDOWNERS. Mitchum, Kerr, and Fred Zinnemann in top form = outstanding film.

Posted By Pamela Porter : March 26, 2012 2:22 pm

And I have to add that Mitchum had it ALL OVER DeNiro’s Cady in the remake. Please. I love me some DeNiro (sometimes), but Mitchum had X1000 the menace and x1000 less “artifice”. No tattoos, no grimaces, no ham-fistedness. Mitchum barely raised his voice – those “immoral” eyes let Polly Bergen know exactly. what. he. had. in. mind.

Posted By Pamela Porter : March 26, 2012 2:22 pm

And I have to add that Mitchum had it ALL OVER DeNiro’s Cady in the remake. Please. I love me some DeNiro (sometimes), but Mitchum had X1000 the menace and x1000 less “artifice”. No tattoos, no grimaces, no ham-fistedness. Mitchum barely raised his voice – those “immoral” eyes let Polly Bergen know exactly. what. he. had. in. mind.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 26, 2012 2:38 pm

Great post,as I too, am a Mitchum fan. I really liked his role in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. I was reading about Kerr recently, and Mitchum was worried about acting with her, in the Heaven Knows movie; he thought she was a prim and proper English rose type of lady. In one scene, where Mitchum was in the water, Kerr got mad at director Huston, cussed him out, and Mitchum laughed so hard he almost drowned-wonder if that is the drowning you were referring to in your post? I also love him in Rachel and The Stranger, and wish Loretta had picked him over William Holden! My late father in law, who was a huge movie fan, told me his mother loved Robert Mitchum, and then only begrudgingly after it was in the news about his bust for pot.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 26, 2012 2:38 pm

Great post,as I too, am a Mitchum fan. I really liked his role in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. I was reading about Kerr recently, and Mitchum was worried about acting with her, in the Heaven Knows movie; he thought she was a prim and proper English rose type of lady. In one scene, where Mitchum was in the water, Kerr got mad at director Huston, cussed him out, and Mitchum laughed so hard he almost drowned-wonder if that is the drowning you were referring to in your post? I also love him in Rachel and The Stranger, and wish Loretta had picked him over William Holden! My late father in law, who was a huge movie fan, told me his mother loved Robert Mitchum, and then only begrudgingly after it was in the news about his bust for pot.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 26, 2012 3:12 pm

Jenniffromrollamo: I know that Mitchum and Kerr became great friends after working on MR. ALLISON. The drowning story I referred to was in regard to the giant sea turtle. Guess the turtle couldn’t take direction(!) and the shots of Mitchum swimming with the turtle were very difficult to get. Trying to stay with the turtle caused him to lose control while swimming underwater.

Pamela: I am not crazy about DeNiro’s Max Cady either, though I like Nick Nolte in the Gregory Peck part. DeNiro’s Southern accent is embarrassing, and he is much too obvious, like you mention.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 26, 2012 3:12 pm

Jenniffromrollamo: I know that Mitchum and Kerr became great friends after working on MR. ALLISON. The drowning story I referred to was in regard to the giant sea turtle. Guess the turtle couldn’t take direction(!) and the shots of Mitchum swimming with the turtle were very difficult to get. Trying to stay with the turtle caused him to lose control while swimming underwater.

Pamela: I am not crazy about DeNiro’s Max Cady either, though I like Nick Nolte in the Gregory Peck part. DeNiro’s Southern accent is embarrassing, and he is much too obvious, like you mention.

Posted By Emgee : March 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Great blog on one of my all-time faves. One anecdote i love is when during filming Angel Face Preminger made Mitchum slap poor Jean Simmons again and again, until she broke down crying. Mitchum turned to Preminger, whacked him hard in the face and added: “Is this what you had in mind, Otto?”

Cape Fear with Savalas? I can see it, but i’m glad it didn’t happen. He would have been too obviously creepy, and no way as smoulderingly sadistic as Mitchum.

Posted By Emgee : March 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Great blog on one of my all-time faves. One anecdote i love is when during filming Angel Face Preminger made Mitchum slap poor Jean Simmons again and again, until she broke down crying. Mitchum turned to Preminger, whacked him hard in the face and added: “Is this what you had in mind, Otto?”

Cape Fear with Savalas? I can see it, but i’m glad it didn’t happen. He would have been too obviously creepy, and no way as smoulderingly sadistic as Mitchum.

Posted By AL : March 26, 2012 6:05 pm

Mitchum and Rita Hayworth met when they were teenagers and remained intimate friends untill Rita’s death. Throughout her tragic bout with Alzheimers, Bob remained loyal and was responsible for several of Rita’s final acting jobs… whataguy!

Posted By AL : March 26, 2012 6:05 pm

Mitchum and Rita Hayworth met when they were teenagers and remained intimate friends untill Rita’s death. Throughout her tragic bout with Alzheimers, Bob remained loyal and was responsible for several of Rita’s final acting jobs… whataguy!

Posted By muriel : March 26, 2012 7:19 pm

Olivier in “Night of the Hunter” would have been very interesting. He could have pulled it off too. But Mitchum is still the best for the part..
I heard a funny anecdote about “Mr. Alison”. There was a priest on the set to advise on Catholic things. To pull his leg, they “filmed” a steamy love scene with Deborah Kerr and Mitchum. Kerr and Mitchum entered into the joke with great glee. The priest threw a fit and they said “Just fooling!” I believe John Huston told this story and he was a great raconteur. Maybe he embellished the story and it did not happen that way, maybe they just wrote the scene to pull the priest’s leg.

Posted By muriel : March 26, 2012 7:19 pm

Olivier in “Night of the Hunter” would have been very interesting. He could have pulled it off too. But Mitchum is still the best for the part..
I heard a funny anecdote about “Mr. Alison”. There was a priest on the set to advise on Catholic things. To pull his leg, they “filmed” a steamy love scene with Deborah Kerr and Mitchum. Kerr and Mitchum entered into the joke with great glee. The priest threw a fit and they said “Just fooling!” I believe John Huston told this story and he was a great raconteur. Maybe he embellished the story and it did not happen that way, maybe they just wrote the scene to pull the priest’s leg.

Posted By David : March 26, 2012 8:03 pm

Great post about the always engaging Robert Mitchum.
Almost impossible to pick five films to represent Mitchum’s career. His performances as the baddie in CAPE FEAR and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER are, with justification, perenially discussed. What are your thoughts on SECRET CEREMONY?
Recently re-watched THE ENEMY BELOW, the outrageous nonsense of THE WRATH OF GOD, and the low key FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE. His versatility is quite amazing.

Posted By David : March 26, 2012 8:03 pm

Great post about the always engaging Robert Mitchum.
Almost impossible to pick five films to represent Mitchum’s career. His performances as the baddie in CAPE FEAR and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER are, with justification, perenially discussed. What are your thoughts on SECRET CEREMONY?
Recently re-watched THE ENEMY BELOW, the outrageous nonsense of THE WRATH OF GOD, and the low key FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE. His versatility is quite amazing.

Posted By Anonymous : March 26, 2012 9:02 pm

My family lives in Montecito, CA, where Mitchum lived in his later years. I first saw him in ’78 on a visit. I was in a gas line (remember gas lines? This was ’78.: even-odd days and all that.) I was at the 76 station in Montecito Village, behind a blue pickup. It finally pulled up at the pump, and out of the pickup steps Robert Mitchum. Absolutely unmistakable. A few months later I was having lunch with my family at the Cafe del Sol, also in Montecito Village, when behind me I heard that unmistakable voice. I resisted the urge to turn and gawk, but I made a trip to the men’s room and surreptitiously studied the table next to ours and there he was, talking to a couple of other men. I will say this about Mitchum: he was the only movie star I ever saw who looked and sounded in real life exactly as he did on screen. All the others looked smaller, older, balder, fatter, or just plain different. Not Mitchum. What you saw and heard on the screen was the real guy. My father’s second wife knew Mitchum well and she described him as, “magnificently vague.”

Posted By Anonymous : March 26, 2012 9:02 pm

My family lives in Montecito, CA, where Mitchum lived in his later years. I first saw him in ’78 on a visit. I was in a gas line (remember gas lines? This was ’78.: even-odd days and all that.) I was at the 76 station in Montecito Village, behind a blue pickup. It finally pulled up at the pump, and out of the pickup steps Robert Mitchum. Absolutely unmistakable. A few months later I was having lunch with my family at the Cafe del Sol, also in Montecito Village, when behind me I heard that unmistakable voice. I resisted the urge to turn and gawk, but I made a trip to the men’s room and surreptitiously studied the table next to ours and there he was, talking to a couple of other men. I will say this about Mitchum: he was the only movie star I ever saw who looked and sounded in real life exactly as he did on screen. All the others looked smaller, older, balder, fatter, or just plain different. Not Mitchum. What you saw and heard on the screen was the real guy. My father’s second wife knew Mitchum well and she described him as, “magnificently vague.”

Posted By dukeroberts : March 26, 2012 11:48 pm

I usually sound like a broken record (remember those?) by how often I extoll the virtues of The Night of the Hunter. It is a magnificent work, due in no small part because of Mitchum’s hypnotically sadistic performance. His telling of the story of right hand and left hand is mesmerizing. His scream is unforgettable. In addition to TNOTH, his Max Cady has it all over DeNiro’s. His other top films for me are Pursued, Out of the Past, Crossfire, The River of No Return (I love his singing of the theme) and El Dorado. I never thought about it before, Suzi, but he WAS super macho. You’re right about that.

And finally, If CDs could be worn out like albums, my CD of Calypso…is Like So would be worn out.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 26, 2012 11:48 pm

I usually sound like a broken record (remember those?) by how often I extoll the virtues of The Night of the Hunter. It is a magnificent work, due in no small part because of Mitchum’s hypnotically sadistic performance. His telling of the story of right hand and left hand is mesmerizing. His scream is unforgettable. In addition to TNOTH, his Max Cady has it all over DeNiro’s. His other top films for me are Pursued, Out of the Past, Crossfire, The River of No Return (I love his singing of the theme) and El Dorado. I never thought about it before, Suzi, but he WAS super macho. You’re right about that.

And finally, If CDs could be worn out like albums, my CD of Calypso…is Like So would be worn out.

Posted By CDM : March 27, 2012 9:28 am

Arthur Ripley directed THUNDER ROAD. Mitchum produced, and Ripley was his personal choice.

Posted By CDM : March 27, 2012 9:28 am

Arthur Ripley directed THUNDER ROAD. Mitchum produced, and Ripley was his personal choice.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 11:25 am

CDM: You are so right about Thunder Road; it was directed by Ripley. I changed the text of the blog accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out. I should have known better. He’s so acknowledged at the “auteur” of the film that I forget about poor Mr. Ripley.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 11:25 am

CDM: You are so right about Thunder Road; it was directed by Ripley. I changed the text of the blog accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out. I should have known better. He’s so acknowledged at the “auteur” of the film that I forget about poor Mr. Ripley.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 11:48 am

David: I have not seen SECRET CEREMONY in a very, very long time, but I remember not caring for it. I might view it differently now, but I have to say that it is interesting that RM would appear in films with “modern” sensibilities when others of his generation of big-time movie stars did not.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 11:48 am

David: I have not seen SECRET CEREMONY in a very, very long time, but I remember not caring for it. I might view it differently now, but I have to say that it is interesting that RM would appear in films with “modern” sensibilities when others of his generation of big-time movie stars did not.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 12:01 pm

This is a shameless drool fest for us silly women! HA HA! Both my sister and I love Mitchum, we’re twins and have similiar tastes anyway. Robert Mitchum has always been an actor I love to hate and hate to love. It’s so confusing, he gets me so scared watching him in “Cape Fear” and “Night of the Hunter” which I feel are very similiar psychos if you think about it. However, it is in these very movies I find him so handsome, alluring if you will. I think he looks good in “The Wonderful Country”,”The Way West”,and “5 Card Stud”,Westerns that no one seems to talk about. In “Night of the Hunter” and “5 Card Stud” he plays a preacher, always thought his phony preacher was the scariest character ever because he tried to get everyone to trust him, all time he is so EVIL. Those poor little children. As Ms. Gish says”the children endure,children abide.”

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 12:01 pm

This is a shameless drool fest for us silly women! HA HA! Both my sister and I love Mitchum, we’re twins and have similiar tastes anyway. Robert Mitchum has always been an actor I love to hate and hate to love. It’s so confusing, he gets me so scared watching him in “Cape Fear” and “Night of the Hunter” which I feel are very similiar psychos if you think about it. However, it is in these very movies I find him so handsome, alluring if you will. I think he looks good in “The Wonderful Country”,”The Way West”,and “5 Card Stud”,Westerns that no one seems to talk about. In “Night of the Hunter” and “5 Card Stud” he plays a preacher, always thought his phony preacher was the scariest character ever because he tried to get everyone to trust him, all time he is so EVIL. Those poor little children. As Ms. Gish says”the children endure,children abide.”

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : March 27, 2012 1:50 pm

Don’t know why my comment above was posted as anonymous, but it was me. Anyway, I, too, saw “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” at the age of 10 in 1957. I was living in Beaumont, TX and my whole 4th grade class got marched several blocks downtown to the Jeferson Theater for the occasion, accompanied by a regiment of nuns. Being a straight boy I didn’t get the lust thing going for old Bob, but I sure admired his style.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : March 27, 2012 1:50 pm

Don’t know why my comment above was posted as anonymous, but it was me. Anyway, I, too, saw “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” at the age of 10 in 1957. I was living in Beaumont, TX and my whole 4th grade class got marched several blocks downtown to the Jeferson Theater for the occasion, accompanied by a regiment of nuns. Being a straight boy I didn’t get the lust thing going for old Bob, but I sure admired his style.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 5:15 pm

We,speaking of us women who go for “old Bob” as you call him,do not expect everyone to be in love with him. I mean he not Jimmy Stewart! I read Stewart’s biography from the library, he was so squeaky clean you probably would have been able to see you relection off him.(laugh)Not that is a bad thing,it’s just in Hollywood isn’t it the rebels and rowdy individuals who get the most attention. Funny enough I don’t think they really even care whether silly girls dug ‘em or not. Reminds me of Lee Marvin, who was in “Not As a Stranger”with Frank Sinatra and Bob Mitchum. The three of them are supposed to be med students,if that isn’t the silliest thing ever! Mom got a real kick outta that. My twin sister and I refer to Mitchum as Big Bad Bob Mitchum. That works for us. Personally, I’m glad you aren’t lustful over Mitchum. He was man enough for many women, but I’m pretty sure the idea of being gay just wouldn’t sit well with “old Bob”. I have to add a quote my sister likes from Bob Mitchum:”Sick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk.” You’re not likely to find that on a Hallmark card!

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 5:15 pm

We,speaking of us women who go for “old Bob” as you call him,do not expect everyone to be in love with him. I mean he not Jimmy Stewart! I read Stewart’s biography from the library, he was so squeaky clean you probably would have been able to see you relection off him.(laugh)Not that is a bad thing,it’s just in Hollywood isn’t it the rebels and rowdy individuals who get the most attention. Funny enough I don’t think they really even care whether silly girls dug ‘em or not. Reminds me of Lee Marvin, who was in “Not As a Stranger”with Frank Sinatra and Bob Mitchum. The three of them are supposed to be med students,if that isn’t the silliest thing ever! Mom got a real kick outta that. My twin sister and I refer to Mitchum as Big Bad Bob Mitchum. That works for us. Personally, I’m glad you aren’t lustful over Mitchum. He was man enough for many women, but I’m pretty sure the idea of being gay just wouldn’t sit well with “old Bob”. I have to add a quote my sister likes from Bob Mitchum:”Sick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk.” You’re not likely to find that on a Hallmark card!

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 6:47 pm

Juana Maria: I think it’s safe to say that it would be impossible to predict what Robert Mitchum would say in any circumstances and impossible to know what he really thought. He was just so unpredictable.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 27, 2012 6:47 pm

Juana Maria: I think it’s safe to say that it would be impossible to predict what Robert Mitchum would say in any circumstances and impossible to know what he really thought. He was just so unpredictable.

Posted By Lisa W. : March 27, 2012 11:18 pm

I loved Night of the Hunter when I first saw it and then even more so after seeing Dr. Doll present it as a midnight movie at Facets. There was so much I didn’t pick up on the first time around but I absolutely cannot imagine anyone else in that film but Robert Mitchum. I also agree with the few others who compared DeNiro’s Cady to Mitchum. He brought so much to his roles—so vibrant and yes, shirtless!! Perhaps it’s his unpredictable nature that makes his performances so right on and so memorable. That and his immoral face! Definitely makes the list of deceased famous people I’d like to have dinner with!

Posted By Lisa W. : March 27, 2012 11:18 pm

I loved Night of the Hunter when I first saw it and then even more so after seeing Dr. Doll present it as a midnight movie at Facets. There was so much I didn’t pick up on the first time around but I absolutely cannot imagine anyone else in that film but Robert Mitchum. I also agree with the few others who compared DeNiro’s Cady to Mitchum. He brought so much to his roles—so vibrant and yes, shirtless!! Perhaps it’s his unpredictable nature that makes his performances so right on and so memorable. That and his immoral face! Definitely makes the list of deceased famous people I’d like to have dinner with!

Posted By Marco : March 28, 2012 2:11 am

The Sundowners would not be the great movie that it is without Mitchum. Ryan’s Daughter is sometimes tedious, and Mitchum is too old for the role, but he is always worth watching. And, The Yakuza is a real treat because Mitchum makes it almost believable. His role in Blood On The Moon makes it one of the most authentic Westerns ever filmed. He was also good in Bandito. All of these movies are completely different from one another, yet Mitchum’s part is the one everyone remembers.

Posted By Marco : March 28, 2012 2:11 am

The Sundowners would not be the great movie that it is without Mitchum. Ryan’s Daughter is sometimes tedious, and Mitchum is too old for the role, but he is always worth watching. And, The Yakuza is a real treat because Mitchum makes it almost believable. His role in Blood On The Moon makes it one of the most authentic Westerns ever filmed. He was also good in Bandito. All of these movies are completely different from one another, yet Mitchum’s part is the one everyone remembers.

Posted By Le jour des favoris [Twitter] — Épisode 6 « Les nuits du chasseur de films : March 28, 2012 4:35 am

[...] Doll on Robert Mitchum: The man with the immoral face sur [...]

Posted By Le jour des favoris [Twitter] — Épisode 6 « Les nuits du chasseur de films : March 28, 2012 4:35 am

[...] Doll on Robert Mitchum: The man with the immoral face sur [...]

Posted By Juana Maria : March 28, 2012 11:42 am

Marco: You are so right! Mitchum reallys takes a movie from possibly forgettable to unforgetable.
Lisa W.:Are you sure you would just have dinner with these stars or “dessert” too? Ha ha ha..
Susan Doll:I ws just trying to let John Maddox Roberts know that I don’t think “old Bob” was gay. He never was openly and no such info has come to light over the yrs. OK? I know he was married and had affairs with women.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 28, 2012 11:42 am

Marco: You are so right! Mitchum reallys takes a movie from possibly forgettable to unforgetable.
Lisa W.:Are you sure you would just have dinner with these stars or “dessert” too? Ha ha ha..
Susan Doll:I ws just trying to let John Maddox Roberts know that I don’t think “old Bob” was gay. He never was openly and no such info has come to light over the yrs. OK? I know he was married and had affairs with women.

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : March 28, 2012 1:02 pm

Was that publicity still for “Knight of the Hunter”?

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : March 28, 2012 1:02 pm

Was that publicity still for “Knight of the Hunter”?

Posted By Susan Doll : March 28, 2012 1:15 pm

Peter: Great joke. Very cute.

Actually, I don’t exactly know what the still was for. My guess is that it was not for a specific film. Many stars were photographed in costumes that represented generic archetypes (cowboys; detectives; knights) just to have recent photos on tap to send to fans and press. There’s nothing in Mitchum’s filmography to suggest he ever played in a film set in medieval times, unless it was as an extra, or something. But, it doesn’t fit his image, that’s for sure. It would be fun to do a post of publicity photos featuring stars in costumes that didn’t match their star image.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 28, 2012 1:15 pm

Peter: Great joke. Very cute.

Actually, I don’t exactly know what the still was for. My guess is that it was not for a specific film. Many stars were photographed in costumes that represented generic archetypes (cowboys; detectives; knights) just to have recent photos on tap to send to fans and press. There’s nothing in Mitchum’s filmography to suggest he ever played in a film set in medieval times, unless it was as an extra, or something. But, it doesn’t fit his image, that’s for sure. It would be fun to do a post of publicity photos featuring stars in costumes that didn’t match their star image.

Posted By maroon5gurl88 : March 28, 2012 2:06 pm

Absolutely in love with Robert Mitchum. Night of the Hunter was one of the movies that sparked my love of classic film and Cape Fear is fantastic (Mitchum is far more sexual and terrifying than De Niro in the remake).

Posted By maroon5gurl88 : March 28, 2012 2:06 pm

Absolutely in love with Robert Mitchum. Night of the Hunter was one of the movies that sparked my love of classic film and Cape Fear is fantastic (Mitchum is far more sexual and terrifying than De Niro in the remake).

Posted By Lisa W. : March 28, 2012 5:18 pm

Juana Maria’s on to me with that dessert comment…. and Peter, I’m rolling my eyes at that Kinight joke right now!

Posted By Lisa W. : March 28, 2012 5:18 pm

Juana Maria’s on to me with that dessert comment…. and Peter, I’m rolling my eyes at that Kinight joke right now!

Posted By Juana Maria : March 29, 2012 5:59 pm

Lisa W.:I know what you have in mind…This post is called “Th Man with the Immoral Face”, but I just have to say I think it’s his whole body too. Ha Ha ha.(giggles) I haven’t had this much fun on a blog in awhile. There is a blog for women who are attracted to Lee Van Cleef. Have you seen it? How do you feel about him? Are you attracted to mostly villians like I am? I just feel that such a great swagger, you know? Anyway, I’ve written about my prefence for villians before on these blogs. Maybe I have more than a little bit of a dark side. HA HA!!

Posted By Juana Maria : March 29, 2012 5:59 pm

Lisa W.:I know what you have in mind…This post is called “Th Man with the Immoral Face”, but I just have to say I think it’s his whole body too. Ha Ha ha.(giggles) I haven’t had this much fun on a blog in awhile. There is a blog for women who are attracted to Lee Van Cleef. Have you seen it? How do you feel about him? Are you attracted to mostly villians like I am? I just feel that such a great swagger, you know? Anyway, I’ve written about my prefence for villians before on these blogs. Maybe I have more than a little bit of a dark side. HA HA!!

Posted By The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of March 30 | Parallax View : March 30, 2012 1:15 pm

[...] to cool her ardor. Not surprisingly, none of those remedies worked.” At Movie Morlocks, Susan Doll offers her 10 favorite anecdotes about the great Robert Mitchum. Not all of which revolve around his sexuality, [...]

Posted By The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for week of March 30 | Parallax View : March 30, 2012 1:15 pm

[...] to cool her ardor. Not surprisingly, none of those remedies worked.” At Movie Morlocks, Susan Doll offers her 10 favorite anecdotes about the great Robert Mitchum. Not all of which revolve around his sexuality, [...]

Posted By chuckE : March 31, 2012 2:58 pm

Was that the shining armor Mr. Mitchum wore in the young boy’s daydream as he walked to school in The Red Pony?

Posted By chuckE : March 31, 2012 2:58 pm

Was that the shining armor Mr. Mitchum wore in the young boy’s daydream as he walked to school in The Red Pony?

Posted By Susan Doll : March 31, 2012 3:16 pm

chuckE: You are probably right about the shining armor photo. It’s been so long since I’ve seen THE RED PONY that I forgot about that sequence. Mystery solved.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 31, 2012 3:16 pm

chuckE: You are probably right about the shining armor photo. It’s been so long since I’ve seen THE RED PONY that I forgot about that sequence. Mystery solved.

Posted By Nick T. : April 2, 2012 2:43 am

Juana Maria’s guess “…the idea of being gay just wouldn’t sit well with “old Bob” followed by Susan Doll’s “He was just so unpredictable” brings to mind the story told by a good friend’s
uncle 35 years ago. Working as a room service waiter in a major
New Orleans hotel during the late ’60s, he had the opportunity
to deliver an order to Mitchum’s suite in the wee hours. Mitchum
answered the door dressed only in his underwear, and while signing the check, a blond mid-teens male – dressed only in his tighty whitey – emerged from the bedroom, and struck a crotch-holding pose behind the oblivious Mitchum’s back. When Uncle Waiter’s diverted attention caught Mitchum’s, “Old Bob” turned, grabbed the kid by the shoulder and spun him around, gave his
behind a hard slap, and told him to “get your ass back in bed.”
He then turned to Uncle Waiter, shrugged and smiled, generously tipped and thanked him, and bid him “Good Night.”
The uncle – as straight-an-arrow as one can imagine, and a huge fan of Mitchum – was taken aback, but passed off the incident as being “typical of some of the Hollywood people that have stayed there”.
So, Juana Maria, Heaven only knows how unpredictable “Old Bob”
really was.
And speaking of “Old Bob” in his underwear, could any other
actor cast in the role of Max Cady have played that strip-search
scene in the police station any better than Mitchum? I don’t
think I’m imagining the sexual tension in that scene, and had Cady wanted, he could’ve had his way with all the men in that room, and coolly made his way out of the station.(The one mistake
in the original is the encounter at the pier between Cady and
Bowden; Cady would have wiped the spilled chum with Bowden’s ass.
As much as I like Peck, SCTV inadvertently, but absolutely, nailed what the problem is with this scene in their ‘preview’ of their in-house production of TAXI DRIVER, starring Peck as Travis Bickle.)

Posted By Nick T. : April 2, 2012 2:43 am

Juana Maria’s guess “…the idea of being gay just wouldn’t sit well with “old Bob” followed by Susan Doll’s “He was just so unpredictable” brings to mind the story told by a good friend’s
uncle 35 years ago. Working as a room service waiter in a major
New Orleans hotel during the late ’60s, he had the opportunity
to deliver an order to Mitchum’s suite in the wee hours. Mitchum
answered the door dressed only in his underwear, and while signing the check, a blond mid-teens male – dressed only in his tighty whitey – emerged from the bedroom, and struck a crotch-holding pose behind the oblivious Mitchum’s back. When Uncle Waiter’s diverted attention caught Mitchum’s, “Old Bob” turned, grabbed the kid by the shoulder and spun him around, gave his
behind a hard slap, and told him to “get your ass back in bed.”
He then turned to Uncle Waiter, shrugged and smiled, generously tipped and thanked him, and bid him “Good Night.”
The uncle – as straight-an-arrow as one can imagine, and a huge fan of Mitchum – was taken aback, but passed off the incident as being “typical of some of the Hollywood people that have stayed there”.
So, Juana Maria, Heaven only knows how unpredictable “Old Bob”
really was.
And speaking of “Old Bob” in his underwear, could any other
actor cast in the role of Max Cady have played that strip-search
scene in the police station any better than Mitchum? I don’t
think I’m imagining the sexual tension in that scene, and had Cady wanted, he could’ve had his way with all the men in that room, and coolly made his way out of the station.(The one mistake
in the original is the encounter at the pier between Cady and
Bowden; Cady would have wiped the spilled chum with Bowden’s ass.
As much as I like Peck, SCTV inadvertently, but absolutely, nailed what the problem is with this scene in their ‘preview’ of their in-house production of TAXI DRIVER, starring Peck as Travis Bickle.)

Posted By Lisa W. : April 2, 2012 12:42 pm

@ Juana Maria—Lee Van Cleef doesn’t do it for me, but I definitely get the appeal and the type you’re talking about! Perhaps Susan can favor us someday with a posting on all our favorite smokin’ hot bad boy villans! Am currently looking forward to my annual viewing of the shirtless Yul Brynner as Ramses in the Ten Commandments!

Posted By Lisa W. : April 2, 2012 12:42 pm

@ Juana Maria—Lee Van Cleef doesn’t do it for me, but I definitely get the appeal and the type you’re talking about! Perhaps Susan can favor us someday with a posting on all our favorite smokin’ hot bad boy villans! Am currently looking forward to my annual viewing of the shirtless Yul Brynner as Ramses in the Ten Commandments!

Posted By Susan Doll : April 2, 2012 3:38 pm

It is so nice when a blog article gets so much response. I truly do appreciate it. However, the comments regarding sexuality have turned a corner into unsubstantiated speculation and detailed descriptions of various people’s personal lives, and I am concerned someone is going to say something unintentionally offensive. I know that Robert Mitchum led a wild, unruly life, and there are many entertaining anecdotes and legends about him, which are interesting to share, but there is also a line that shouldn’t be crossed. So, I am asking that we put the brakes on that avenue of discussion. Thanks folks! Don’t mean to spoil anyone’s fun but sometimes discussions like this prevent others from commenting, or they unintentionally offend.

Posted By Susan Doll : April 2, 2012 3:38 pm

It is so nice when a blog article gets so much response. I truly do appreciate it. However, the comments regarding sexuality have turned a corner into unsubstantiated speculation and detailed descriptions of various people’s personal lives, and I am concerned someone is going to say something unintentionally offensive. I know that Robert Mitchum led a wild, unruly life, and there are many entertaining anecdotes and legends about him, which are interesting to share, but there is also a line that shouldn’t be crossed. So, I am asking that we put the brakes on that avenue of discussion. Thanks folks! Don’t mean to spoil anyone’s fun but sometimes discussions like this prevent others from commenting, or they unintentionally offend.

Posted By Juana Maria : April 5, 2012 10:33 am

Susan Doll:Thanks for the article and the editorial. Yes, the brakes as you call them,needed to be put down. I didn’t like this blog turning into a tabloid, that just isn’t TCM in my opinion. I think before wild stories are told were is the proof? Wild stories can be little more than gossip and lies. Not good. I don’t want to hear lies about people living or dead.

Posted By Juana Maria : April 5, 2012 10:33 am

Susan Doll:Thanks for the article and the editorial. Yes, the brakes as you call them,needed to be put down. I didn’t like this blog turning into a tabloid, that just isn’t TCM in my opinion. I think before wild stories are told were is the proof? Wild stories can be little more than gossip and lies. Not good. I don’t want to hear lies about people living or dead.

Posted By Juana Maria : April 7, 2012 5:32 pm

I mean to type he once said:”Stick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk!” And yes, I don’t think Hallmark card company would put a remark like that inside their lovely cards. I hope Lisa W. has fun tonight watching “the Ten Commandments” with the exotic Yul Brynner. She should tape it off TV or buy the DVD, that way she can enjoy the film all year long!On;y logical, inless of course she like to build up of anticipation of her favorite movie coming on TV. I really would like Susan Doll to write about hunky villians! I know Yul Brynner wasn’t always a villian but when he was, I couldn’t tell the differnce from his heroes!

Posted By Juana Maria : April 7, 2012 5:32 pm

I mean to type he once said:”Stick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk!” And yes, I don’t think Hallmark card company would put a remark like that inside their lovely cards. I hope Lisa W. has fun tonight watching “the Ten Commandments” with the exotic Yul Brynner. She should tape it off TV or buy the DVD, that way she can enjoy the film all year long!On;y logical, inless of course she like to build up of anticipation of her favorite movie coming on TV. I really would like Susan Doll to write about hunky villians! I know Yul Brynner wasn’t always a villian but when he was, I couldn’t tell the differnce from his heroes!

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